Like a bad marriage that has reach the point of no return, divorce is often the best option. Couples often see it as the last resort after trying everything possible to keep the marriage alive. But if one party has already mentally checked out then there is no other solution than to part ways. In football, a players relationship to a club is a lot like a marriage which starts from the moment they sign on the dotted line of their contract. Like a marriage, both parties agree to certain things on that day and a bond is built that should flourish over time. However it is often the case that players become distracted or delusioned by other things that leads to a fracture between themselves and the club. Like a marriage, the club attempts to solve the problem and if it can look to part on amicable terms. This week, after months of trying to salvage their relationship to no avail, Tottenham announced that it has agreed to release Emmanuel Adebayor from his contract, ending a turbulent and often frustrating relationship.
To be fair to Tottenham, it was Adebayor who wasn’t happy in their marriage. At the start, everything was rosy with Adebayor seen as the striker who could fire Spurs to success. Initially arriving on loan from Manchester City in the summer of 2011, the Togolese striker hit the ground running scoring on his debut against Wolves, the first of 18 goals he scored that season. That impressive form convinced Tottenham to part with £5m the following summer and sign the player permanently. Under then manager Andre Villas Boas, Adebayor started a majority of Tottenham’s games but struggled to find the form he had shown on loan the previous season. Over the course of the year, his relationship with Villas Boas became strained eventually leading to the player being sent to train with the youth team at the start of the new campaign in 2013. That appeared to signal the end of the road for Adebayor but was given a second chance by new manager Tim Sherwood when Villas Boas was sacked in November of that year. Adebayor repaid Sherwood with goals, notching 14 goals in just under seven months. But with Sherwood’s departure the following summer, Adebayor fell out of favour once more with new boss Mauricio Pochettino restricting his appearances and eventually telling him he could leave. Despite several loan offers and a couple of transfer bids, Adebayor was unable to reach terms leaving Tottenham with little option than to reach a mutual termination of his contract.
Whilst it would appear at first glance that Adebayor is the victim in this story, that simply isn’t the case. The Togo striker is as much to blame for the demise of his career as Tottenham are, if not more so. Whilst talented on the pitch, Adeabyor’s distractions off of it and his desire for money over playing time have resulted in the capitulation of his career. Since arriving at Arsenal from Monaco in 2005, Adebayor has made making as much money as possible his number one goal. Whilst hardly unusually for a professional footballer, his hunger for the green has actually affected his time on the pitch, refusing moves which could have led to more playing time because they were unwilling to match his astronomical wage demands. With Adebayor unwilling to discuss a drop in wages, it has led to several clubs walking away and leaving the player in limbo, a state he seems strangely happy to be in as long as someone was paying him. His complex family life has not helped either with much documented public fights with his mother, sister and brother. Adebayor claims that his family are a drain on him both mentally and financially, taking advantage of his success whenever they can. His troubled family life will have had an effect on his mindset on the pitch which could have resulted in his drop in form or poor attitude.
Despite a lack of striking options at the club, the decision to release Adebayor by Tottenham has been welcomed by a large percentage of the Spurs fans. With a return of one in every three games for Tottenham (35 goals in 92 matches) as a striker he could do a job but the distractions he had off of it made him unplayable. Removing him from the payroll frees up considerable wiggle room in the wage structure which should allow Tottenham more flexibility as they pursue a new front man. After agreeing a payout from Tottenham in order to break his contract, Adebayor now can turn his attention towards what he does next but with a reputation as a difficult player, it may be hard for hard for him to find a new club. At 31, his next move is an important one and not one that he should make lightly. Money should not be a factor in this decision but based on his career so far, unfortunately money talks for Adebayor and will play a pivotal role as he decides where he ends up next.
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